WD-50 or Gramercy Tavern?
Boyfriend's birthday is at the end of July so I need to make a reservation. Between these two restaurants (his picks) which should I choose? Other ideas are welcome (though we have already been to Babbo, The Modern, Craft, Per Se, Le Bernardin and I'd prefer it be someplace we both have not been to before). Thanks!
I think you are really comparing apples and oranges here. Are you adventerous diners who don't mind trying odd flavors/ textures? If not, then nix WD-50. I love Gramercy Tavern, for atmosphere, food and service. I have never had a bad experience there and if you want a great birthday dinner that I can pretty much guarantee will be good, go with Gramercy. WD-50 is a cool space, but the food is really a matter of taste and some people HATE it while other LOVE it. I went there a couple of years ago and many of the dishes were surprisingly good and others just terrible.
If it was me, I would probably go with Gramercy unless your boyfriend is really into Molecular Gastronomy.
meg, for what it's worth, i've been to wd 50 six or seven times, now, and walked away happy with my experience each time. i don't think of myself as a molecular gastronomy hound (prior to wd 50, i was deeply unimpressed with foams and infusions and the like) -- but i really value creativity and fun and i get a distinct sense of that from this restaurant. almost always, i've done the tasting menu. not all the dishes are great, but the ones that are astound. the ones that aren't are at least thought provoking.
i think wd 50 has the potential to be more memorable, though you risk hating it, of course. offthebeatenpath is right that people tend to love it or hate it. it provokes strong feelings.
all that said, gramery tavern is, these days, a good, safe, and classy option.
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my SO and i went to WD-50 - i have to say a bit underwhelmed. It wasn't a bad meal - but perhaps my first excursion into "molecular gastronomy" - and thought I'd be more wowed. Frankly we enjoyed Degustation a lot more - I'd recommend that in a heartbeat especially if it is only you two.
As for Gramercy - i have only eaten in the bar (peeked in the dining room - it certainly looked nice) i would refer to it more as "comfort food" - i know i know i was just at the bar only - different menu than the dining room. I ordered the stuffed meatball - the bartender (excellent service there) said it was "what they are know for" - ick - i felt it was heavy and frankly a rather bland meatloaf with a wedge of cheese in the middle. It made me not want to go eat dinner in the tavern - though would like to know if others who have eaten there think the food is beyond comfort food - but something more unique (i define comfort food as food i either grew up with or could make myself).
Also I would suggest Daniel as the best meal we have had in NY - incredible food, atmosphere and service. Eleven Madison second.
I would have to agree - my SO and I recently returned from our NYC trip and we went to several restaurants after doing much research on Chowhound. We had narrowed the list down to the following:
2) Jean Georges (for lunch)
4) Nougatine (for breakfast)
We were only there for 5 days, so that was about all we could fit in given the tight timeline. If I had to rank the meals, I would do as such:
2) Nougatine for breakfast (OK this is relative to all other breakfasts I have ever had, and this was quite the experience. I will be entering a post for it as well)
3) Jean Georges
Please see my other longer posting under WD50 for a more complete description.
Cheers and Happy Eating.